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LORDS AND SERFS TODAY

May 5, 2019

LORDS AND SERFS TODAY

Professor Kennedy in her blog today quotes from a paper submitted by one of her students at the end of the spring semester just concluded which treats our present disarray in government and in our economy with the clarity one would expect from a Woodrow Wilson scholar, and were I her professor I would give her an A. The student ended her scholarly description of people, policies and events with a call for a system that works for all rather than the one we have now, where the system works for the few. Professor Kennedy noted that she (the professor) has no fear of tomorrow if this student’s views are representative of  those in tomorrow’s governing class. I agree, and responded to her contributors, slightly edited, as follows.

Professor Kennedy has opened up one of my favorite topics today – governing philosophy – so brace yourself for my philosophical take, as follows.  One could argue that Citizens United brought us nothing new but merely affirmed the existing order of things, i.e., made it official, which suggests that we dissidents should spend our time and energy on changing the undergirding realities that brought us Citizens United in a judicial affirmation of a political order that already enabled libertarian Kochs and Mercers and other dark money zillionaires to buy elections. The ultimate remedy, of course, is called voting for change from Citizens’ impact, assuming Putin allows such process to proceed and Republicans end or at least slow their voter suppression tactics.

How did we get to where we are, and what are we doing to identify and rid ourselves of governing philosophies that harken back to East India Tea days of royal monopoly one step removed from today’s financiers on Wall Street (the new royalty)? Are we still operating as an East India Tea monopoly under cover of weak and unenforced Sherman and Clayton Acts which were thrown to the masses during the Gilded Age as a bone to avoid civil commotion and the wrath of Teddy Roosevelt?

Who these days is enforcing Sherman? Trump, or even recent Democratic presidents, or are they too beholden to libertarian and PAC cash to honestly advocate for the 99% (except when they are on the stump with their MAGAs and other meaningless mantras)? Perhaps it is time to attack underlying causes as well as the symptoms of our current economic and political malaise in this lord v. serf brawl (1% vs. 99%), as in, by what right do the few totally control the distribution of the wealth and income from our economy? How could anyone in the 99% of whatever political stripe as a stakeholder in our economy vote for that when you consider that this is our economy, not that of mere investors in our markets, who are stakeholders but not owners of our economy. We are.

Given all of the above, what is it going to take to see real reform in allocation of power and resources between these metaphorical lords and serfs I have described? Will even a Putin-less election do the trick, or are we merely changing faces of the mantra-elected lords while the East India Tea design continues? When will the serfs be welcome in the castle they financed by their labor, built and still maintain, and when will the lords who inhabit it pay rent to the serfs who by all rights own the castle. Ever?

I have more questions than answers today about how to cobble together a just society from the current chaos induced by a real estate investor masquerading as president sitting in the Oval Office, so you be the judge. What now?       GERALD         E

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